“The Garifuna People of Hopkins”

During the 1600′s, several slave ships were wrecked off the coast of St. Vincent, an island in the southern Caribbean.  The Africans who had been aboard soon found the Island Carib Indians, who inhabited St. Vincent and several nearby islands.  In defense of their land and freedom, Africans joined with Indians and the Garinagu culture was born.

By the early 1700′s the Garinagu population began to predominate the islands.  For years, equipped with muskets and ammunitions, they successfully defended the island of St. Vincent from European encroachment. In a final eventful battle however, the Garinagu were defeated, rounded up, and deported on a hired ship called ‘Experiment’ to the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. It is from this island location, under the leadership of the now legendary Alejo Beni, that they made their way up the coast to Belize, which was called British Honduras at the time.

Between the years 1832 – 1900, the Garinagu made several settlements along the coast of Belize. Today, the Garinagu are known to be people whose main livelihoods surround the natural abundance of the sea and diverse coastal ecosystems. The Garinagu communities of Belize are primarily located in the south, in the beautiful seaside villages of Barranco, Sein Bite, Georgetown and our very own Hopkins. Dangriga Town is the largest community, and is often referred to by locals as the ‘culture capital of Belize’.

In 1941 Thomas Vincent Ramos founded Garifuna Settlement Day and began the celebration in Dangriga. By 1943 it had spread to include the southernmost district of Toledo and was declared a public and bank holiday in the south.  It was not until 1977 that the Government declared Garifuna Settlement Day a public holiday throughout the country of Belize.  Today, November 19th is celebrated by hundreds of Belizeans, in Garinagu settlements countrywide, with cultural drumming, singing and sunrise re-enactments of the boats arriving on shore. Like many other cultures in Belize, the Garinagu has maintained the integrity of their native tongue by raising the younger generations to proudly speak their language. Their language is called ‘Garifuna’.

This idyllic little village of Hopkins is quickly becoming the cultural center of the Garinagu population. The vile was created in 1942 to replace the village of Newtown, which was devastated by a hurricane further up the coast.  Hopkins consists of approximately 1’000 villagers, and is separated into two parts; the Northside (Baila) and the Southside (False Sittee). It is surrounded to the west by the majestic Maya Mountains and the lush Cockscomb Range, and to its east, by the Caribbean Sea. The people have traditionally lived from farming and fishing, but more recently have found work in the growing tourism industry. The residents are known for their friendliness and genuine hospitality, and welcome visitors to their village. Hopkins was recently voted “The Friendliest Village in Belize” by Belize First Magazine, and Destination of the Year 2010 by the Belize Tourism Board. Hopkins has a selection of gift shops, restaurants and small bars.

 

“Hopkin’s Day 2012″

This weekend in Hopkins is a festive and fun place to be. The intense beating of drums followed by singing and dancing will welcome you as you enter the sleepy fishing village of Hopkins. It makes the 71st year of the arrival of the Garifuna to Hopkins, and Hopkins Day has been celebrated since 1990. It is a festival that grows every year. and aside from the villages more and more Belizean people from other parts of the country are coming to be a part of this cultural festival.

There will be lots of fun games and drumming entertainment with a variety of cultural and Belizean food for everyone during the day. Saturday night will come alive with the Punta fest where many bands from around the country will be participating.

Join us and let’s all celebrate in one of Belize growing tourist destination.

 

 

 

“Royal visit to Belize”

Prince Harry is expected to arrive in Belize on Friday, March 2nd, 2012 as a part of the celebration to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s II Diamond Jubilee. The Prince will be visiting Belmopan and San Ignacio during his whirlwind visit to Belize for which the Belize Tourism Board in collaboration with the Government of Belize has organized a packed schedule of activities for him to maximize his visit to the country.

Hopkins was chosen as the destination to represent the Garifuna Booth in the street festival welcoming Prince Harry to Belize. Chef Bernard from Jaguar Reef Lodge along with our very own Chef Sheridan and Chef Marcia were chosen to prepare and serve Prince Harry and all invited guests with our traditional delectable Garifuna dishes. Along with the Garifuna booth, there will be a Creole and Mestizo Booth.

It is being said that the Prince wants to dance to the Punta music and drink our Beliken beer. There will be professional cultural dancers and entertainment for this event.

We are all super excited and even more incredibly honored for this once in a lifetime opportunity and we want to welcome Prince Harry to Belize!

 

Hamanasi guide wins Village Council Seat!

"Golden" Miranda

Hamanasi is very proud to announce the election of one of its very own… inland guide, Ashford “Golden” Miranda, is one of the newly elected Hopkins Village Council Representative. Village elections were held on Sunday, April 18, 2010, and Golden was announced one of the six council seat winners around 11:30 p.m. later that night. Golden will be a wonderful representative for the people of Hopkins, and we all look forward to great things from him. His position on the Council is a three-year term that begins one week from the date of the elections.

Congratulations Golden!

Garifuna Women Stand Strong in Belize!

Hamanasi Front Desk/Reservations Associate, Gilda Eligio attended a symposium for Garifuna women over the past weekend. The symposium was organized by a Christian Women’s group from Minnesota, Open Doors, led by Anne Hinrichs. The group comes to Belize, specifically the Hopkins and the neighboring Garifuna villages of Seine Bight and GeorgeTown, for the purposes of ministering to women and teens about the role of women in the home, workplace, community and church, and to encourage women to be leaders and examples in all
aspects of the Garifuna life. During their week-long stay, they have daily services at the church or villages to minister to the people.They also organize projects and activities to help restore hope to the less fortunate by refurbishing their homes and painting it or changing old boards to new ones so that the families can be proud. Open Doors also brings “goodies” for the children and school supplies. they walk around the villages and give donations to families that are in
need. Pastor Herdie Castillo from the Hopkins Evangelical Church, Ligilisi Laureni Bungui, goes along with the group and introduces them to local families. Open Doors also follows up with each family to see how they are doing and send supplies, food and clothing to them after returning to Minnesota. The symposium and services were well-attended by the local women with more than 40 regular attendees… and crowds of children when the services are taken to the villages!

Belize Culture Night

Friday nights at Hamanasi Resort guests dance into the night as Garifuna dancers delight everyone with their traditional Belizean culture … stories, attire, dances and drumming!

Belize Culture at Hamanasi

Culture is an important part of the Hamanasi experience.
This photo shows the local drumming and dancing group that is special entertainment at Hamanasi. Thanks to David Harvey Photography for the beautiful picture he shared from his vacation with us! David took many amazing photos during his stay at Hamanasi. You’re going to see many more very soon!